Archive for February, 2008

FBI ARRESTS PIEDMONT, ALABAMA MAN FOR THREATS

Friday, February 29th, 2008

On December 6th 2007 the FBI arrested Michael Eugene Cook for threatening to kill two VA doctors.  

FBI Press Release

On January 4th 2008 The Anniston Star  reported that he was also charged with threatening a federal law enforcement officer.

We wonder what kinds of demons Michael Cook is battling.  And wouldn’t it make more sense for the Government to help Michael instead of prosecuting him?

We also wonder how many VA doctors have been arrested for actually murdering Veterans.  We believe the answer is zero.

Simple. Elegant. Truth.

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

 “Any nation willing to ask its men and women to risk their lives serving overseas must also be willing to take care of them when they come home. Veterans deserve dignified care, and we can’t provide that with a VA that is run like the Postal Service or the IRS.”

— Dr. Ron Paul

VA Budget Update (2009)

Monday, February 18th, 2008

I received the following in a Veteran’s Newsletter that I’d like to share.

VA BUDGET 2009 UPDATE:  Some say budget request would not meet VA’s requirements. Following are some of the media/congressional comments regarding the Bush proposal: •              Congressional Quarterly reported, “The Veterans Affairs Department (VA) would receive only a modest boost for veterans’ medical needs in fiscal 2009, which Democrats said would not meet the agency’s requirements.” The White House’s budget request contains a total of $91.2 billion for the VA, including $44.8 billion in discretionary spending. The proposed discretionary spending is a modest increase over the $43.1 billion appropriated to the department through the fiscal 2008 omnibus spending law. And, while VA Secretary James B. Peake said the budget request builds on VA’s past successes in providing veterans with timely, accessible delivery of high quality benefits and services earned through their sacrifice and service in defense of freedom some Democrats said the VA medical budget could fall short of projected needs. •              Tim Johnson (DSD), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Military Construction Subcommittee, said, “The administration has proposed an increase in funding for the VA, but I’m concerned the need will outpace the increase.” •              The AP reported Sen. Jon Tester (DMT) said the budget proposal is about as out of touch with Montana values as you can get. It racks up nearly a trillion dollars in new debt while containing nearly $2 billion in new fees on veterans who want to use the VA. We need a budget that prioritizes working families, rural America , infrastructure, veterans and health care, especially for our children. If President Bush isn’t going to prioritize these things in his budget, Congress will in ours. •              USA Today said that with its budget request, the Bush administration is again seeking to charge health care enrollment fees to veterans with no service injuries and incomes above $50,000, along with charging a hike in prescription drug copayments from $8 to $15. Congress, however, has denied both before. USA Today added that outlook in Congress for the request can best be summed up by Sen. Daniel Akaka (DHI), the head of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Akaka called the proposal inadequate: ‘It’s just not enough.'” •              The New York Times added, “The president proposes to raise $2 billion from new enrollment fees and higher pharmacy copayments for certain veterans receiving health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.” •              The Marine Corps Times  reports VA Secretary Peake praised the White House request for VA funding, saying, “If you look at health care, it’s more than double what it was seven years ago.” The Times added, “One of the biggest issues facing VA is overwhelmed case workers who can’t keep up with the thousands of new benefits claims that continue to pour in,” •              Rita Reese, principal deputy assistant secretary for management, said VA plans to increase the number of fulltime case workers. She added that the budget plan aims to reduce the disability claims backlog to 298,000 by the end of fiscal 2009, a drop of 24%. Reese also said the average length of time required to rule on an initial benefits claim will drop from the current 180 days to about 145 days, a 21% improvement over 2007. •              UPI added that President Bush’s 2009 budget pushes for implementation of recommendations from the Commission on Care for America ‘s Returning Wounded Warriors. The VA budget, unveiled Tuesday, seeks $41.2 billion for medical care, which Bush said was more than double the amount the department received when Bush took office. Picking up themes from his State of the Union address last week, Bush said the administration also would seek enactment of commission recommendations, including modernizing of disability compensation systems, expanding treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and strengthening support for families. •              The Wall Street Journal reported a major expansion included in the proposed budget was a 28% increase to $348 million for the Veterans Affairs Department.•              Government Executive reported, “The Veterans Affairs Department would see a nearly 18% jump in its information technology budget if Congress approves President Bush’s fiscal 2009 budget request.” The administration earmarked $2.53 billion for VA’s tech budget in 2009, up from $2.15 billion in 2008.  •              VA officials said the bulk of the $380 million increase will be allocated to programs to enhance veteran services, to cover inflationary cost increases, replace aging equipment, build new facilities and add services.”[Source:  News from Around the Country 5 Feb 08 ++] 

My personal opinion is the budget falls woefully short of providing real need for veterans. I do applaud the Senators from South Dakato and Montana for taking the stand they did for veterans. I give the President “two thumbs down” for believing (as I read it) that veterans can afford higher copayments at the pharmacy. Has for Secretary Peakes comments, well Grandma alway’s said “Consider the source”.  – Dorin

Carmelo Rodriguez

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Carmelo Rodriguez 

Carmelo Rodriguez

 

He Said, She Said

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Mad Dog sent me a newsletter.  In the newsletter was an article.  In the article,       Its (VA) ratings for quality of care and customer satisfaction have risen even as the patient load has increased.”  She goes on in the article to parrot information provided by the  Commission on the Future for America’s Veterans.

Back in June of 2007, we expressed some concerns we had with that “Commission” to the Executive Director, David Sevier. Out of one side of the commission’s mouth they stated: “Dr. Kizer, former VA Undersecretary for Health from 1994 to 1999, is widely credited with turning around VA’s health care system.”

Out of the other side of the commission’s mouth they stated: “In fact, the Commission is intent upon nothing less than the total transformation of a “badly broken agency” (VA). These commissioners are as tired of the disfunction as anyone, probably a lot more since they’ve had to try to make it work in the past.”

 As we said to David Sevier then, we say to

If David, Katherine, Hillary, Barack, or anyone else would like to know the actual truth, without shaping by the VA spin and rotation machine,  let us know.

Truth Stranger than Fiction

Friday, February 1st, 2008

We recently discovered that there is this “thing” called the “Taxpayer Advocate Service” (TAS).  The TAS, allegedly, reports directly to Congress and is outside the influence of the IRS.

 In a report that the TAS submitted to Congress titled: “Fiscal Year 2008 Objectives”, we found this on page 58:

The Influence of Social Norms and Cognitive Processes on Taxpayer Compliance
 
Traditional theories attribute taxpayer compliance solely to a fear of detection and punishment.  These deterrence models of taxpayer compliance have poor explanatory power.  Current research demonstrates that the choice to comply is not purely rational.  Rather, personal values, social norms, and non-rational cognitive processes also strongly affect the decision. 
 
In another contractor study, TAS is seeking to identify and analyze the reasons why taxpayers comply with the tax laws.  The contractor will review and summarize current research on how values, norms, and cognitive processes influence compliance behavior and will develop recommendations concerning how research in this field can be applied to
improving tax administration and voluntary compliance.”

We haven’t been able to figure out who the contractor is or how much the contractor was paid.  We are, however, convinced that the amount spent was too much and the contractor has excellent political connections.

We can’t make this kind of stuff up.